Our featured artist this Studio Sunday is Jonathan Monk. Born in Leicester, UK, the artist is currently based in Berlin. In his studio practice, Monk frequently takes existing contemporary artworks and remixes or reimagines, them using a kind of appropriative visual language to encourage viewers to look at familiar objects in new ways.
I like the homey feel of Monk’s studio in this photo. The space is a jumble of various objects, items, and materials, with artworks on the wall that could be pieces by Monk himself, or that could be other artists’ works serving as inspiration. Looking at this studio space it’s curious to guess at what Monk’s chosen medium might be. It reminds me of the studio of Jesse Darling, an artist who works in a variety of media and also has various objects throughout their studio space.
There’s a sense of almost harried art-making here. I get the sense that Monk must work through fits of inspiration or not at all, grabbing hold of any idea that pops into his head and hammering at it intensively until the work is complete. The objects on the floor could be aides to the process, or they may have ended up in this space through some accident or some quick and unseeing process of clearing table space.
In speaking about his own work, Monk acknowledges that appropriation is a technique that has always attracted him, and that has always been instrumental in his practice. The artist works from a place of knowing that there is little remaining in art that can be original, and seeks instead to foist new ways of thinking onto existing visuals.